Business of Agriculture March April 2019 Edition - Page 12

HELPING THE CROP AND THE COMMUNITY IN INDIAN AGRICULTURE THROUGH DRONE SOLUTIONS By: T.R. Mughilan * T Consistent pursuit of surplus-driven growth has lead to land parcels in many parts of India reaching their productivity threshold and becoming progressively less productive and cultivable he importance of agriculture in India is one of those facts that receives widespread acknowledgement primarily due to the scale of its influence. Over half of the Indian population and almost 3/4th of all households depend on agriculture for their livelihood, and with good reason. Amongst all the nations in the world, India dedicates more than four times the global average of its land to grow crops. Chances are that the writer, readers, and editors of this article are direct descendants from farmers or are actively engaged in farming. agriculture has about 60,000 crores in non-performing assets (NPAs). While the reasons for this are complex, multi-layered, and vast, resulting from factors that go beyond just the ecological such as: the socio- economic; and political. The following content of the article attempts to focus on aspects of the age-old problems that new-age technology can help to solve, with a particular focus on drone-based solutions for the most important stakeholders in the grand scheme of things such as: the crop; and the community. Drone-based Solutions for the Crops From the day a seed is sown to the day the crop is harvested, a majority of stakeholders cannot track metrics such as: the health; count; and growth patterns. The broad-ranging term that is used to define this is “traceability”. Bodies like the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations have made it their inherent goal to pursue and implement traceability in global supply chains especially in agriculture. The Indian agricultural output has gone through drastic and amazing transformational jumps. We have an agricultural trade surplus amongst nations that grow a wide range of crops for international consumption. However, the growth that Indian agriculture has seen is not without its caveats. Consistent pursuit of surplus-driven growth has lead to land parcels in many parts of India reaching their productivity threshold and becoming progressively less productive and cultivable. States all over the country are feeling the pinch of decreasing sustainability of practices used in the decades since independence. Farmlands are among the worst performing assets nationwide as is evidenced by reports from the RBI indicating that 12 Business of Agriculture | March-April 2019 • Vol. V • Issue 2 The UN defines traceability as “The ability to identify and trace the history, distribution, location and application of products, parts and materials, to ensure the reliability of sustainability claims, in the areas of human rights, labour (including health and safety), the environment and anti-corruption.” Traceability is important for a number of reasons if implemented in its truest sense, it: • Increases the confidence of the consumer; • Improves functions of agribusiness entities such as: forecasting; record keeping; and response time;